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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 10/23/2007

Rudy: 'I Am NOT Hillary'

By Michael Dobbs

Clinton joined Giuliani on the streets of New York after 9/11.

Republican Debate on Fox News, October 21, 2007:


Mayor Giuliani believes in federal funding for abortion. He believes in sanctuary cities. He's for gun control...He sides with Hillary Clinton on each of those issues just mentioned...


The point seems to be that on a lot of the social issues, like abortion and gay rights and gun control, that there's not much difference between you and Clinton. Is there?


You have got to be kidding.


So who is kidding who here? Do Rudy and Hillary share similar positions on social issues, or don't they?

The Facts

In Republican party politics, particularly during primary season, getting lumped together with Hillary Clinton is the kiss of death. Giuliani adroitly pushed aside the poisoned chalice offered by Thompson and Chris Wallace by making a joke of it. The former New York mayor sought to leave the impression that his points of agreement with the Democratic senator from New York were limited to the fact that they were both "Yankee fans." And even on that point, he drew a distinction. "I became a Yankee fan growing up in New York. She became a Yankee fan growing up in Chicago."

The Giuliani campaign was so pleased with this riposte that they posted it on You Tube.

The laughter distracted attention from a serious question. As anyone who has been following the campaign closely knows, Giuliani is not a typical "values Republican." Over the years, he has taken a series of positions on social issues that are not too different from middle-of-the-road Democratic candidates. Let's take a look at them:

Giuliani and Clinton positions compared:

Giuliani Clinton
Gun control Says New York gun control laws helped make New York City the "safest" big city in the United States. Supports gun control. Supported Giuliani's 2000 lawsuit against gun manufacturers.
Abortion Says abortions are "wrong," but supports the "constitutional right" of women to have abortions, and some public funding. Describes abortion as "a tragic choice," but supports public funding for abortions in some cases.
Gay rights Says marriage should be "between a man and a woman," but supports domestic partnerships. Supports civil unions, but says states should decide on gay marriages.
Immigration As mayor of New York, permitted illegal immigrants to report crimes and enroll their children in public schools. Opposes illegal immigration, but voted against denying social security benefits to illegal aliens.

Giuliani has modified his positions on social issues in some subtle ways since launching his campaign for the presidency. For example, he earlier opposed a ban on late-term abortions, so-called partial-birth abortions, saying that the choice should be left to "the woman because it affects her probably more than anyone else." (Meet the Press, February 6, 2000.) In April 2007, he praised the Supreme Court for upholding a congressional ban on such abortions. The abortion rights group NARAL accused him of doing "a 180-degree pivot on his former position."

The mayor has also shifted on gun rights, distancing himself from his own 2000 lawsuit against gun manufacturers. Giuliani claims that the lawsuit has taken various "turns and twists" he does not agree with, but has not been specific. See our analysis of his changing position here. He told the National Rifle Association last month that he supports a measure designed to block access to gun trace data in civil suits.

On gay rights, Giuliani earlier said that gays should be permitted to serve in the military "on the merits," based on their ability to "handle the pressures" rather than their "sexual orientation. (Meet the Press, February 6, 2000.) More recently, he has said that a "time of war" is not the right time to "make fundamental changes like this." (Republican debate, June 3, 2007.) (Clinton has called for an end to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy initiated by her husband.)

The Pinocchio Test

Despite some recent shifts in his position, Giuliani still remains fairly close to Hillary Clinton on social issues, such as gun control, abortion, and gay rights. While there are differences in the details of their proposed policies, the former mayor and the senator for New York have more in common than shared enthusiasm for the Yankees.

Giuliani is an effective debater. On this occasion, his debating skills and ability to make his audience laugh helped conceal a political sleight of hand. We award him two Pinocchios for "significant omissions and/or exaggerations."

(About our rating scale.)

By Michael Dobbs  | October 23, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  2 Pinocchios, Candidate Record, Candidate Watch, Social Issues  
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Next: 'Hillary Care' and 'Socialized Medicine'


Giulaini and Clinton should team up and run as a team. They are in so many more ways alike than those different. Both very greedy and will do or say anything to get elected. Even sell out our country and the American people.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 23, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I've never considered voting for Guiliani, but it looks like he is the kind of moderate both sides of center can embrace. Still, this is a pivotal moment in our history - is he really the right person? Thanks FC for this - it helps to see their positions laid out in plain English.

Posted by: john | October 23, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

This is typical. Politicians will say what they want people to hear. They're snake oil salesmen.

Posted by: Anwal | October 23, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

If the republicans nominate Guiliani they'll owe Bill Clinton an apology. Also I was thinking of voting for Obama because Hillary might encourage right wingers to get out the vote, but after the religious zealots in Orlando vilified Hillary, now I want to vote for Hillary just to rub it in their faces. That would make a great bumper sticker-"Piss off a republican.. Vote for Hillary"

Posted by: Steve Zeigler | October 23, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

What is truly amazing is that this debate is even taking place! The fact that a pro-choice, pro-"gay", pro gun-control candidate is at the head of the Republican field, is a dream come true!

I am personally in favor of Joe Biden for President but the fact that the Republican party is self-destructing gives me endless glee.

Posted by: Tom | October 23, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

omg, terrible slight of hand RG, you could do better then simply laugh it off. That's something that Hillary would do....hmm, in fact, she does!
Hillary has already said that she would never say everything she thinks/believes so that she can get elected. She is as much a part of what is wrong with our country as the Christian Republic.

Posted by: Eric | October 23, 2007 9:32 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry, but I just don't understand all this hatred of Hillary. She's wise, well-educated, a stellar U.S. Senator, compassionate, strong and hard working. She's a bit too center perhaps for me, but I think she is balanced with great values and a true love for her country.

Posted by: Thomas Freeman | October 24, 2007 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Vote for "none of the above," and give the halls of Congress a good old fashioned emema this election cycle.

Americans - take your country back from the hands of corrupt and crooked polticians

Posted by: vpats | October 24, 2007 7:58 AM | Report abuse

There isn't much difference between Hillary and Rudy; hence the reason I'm not voting for either. They agree on all the hot button issues. They are both in favor of same sex civil unions, gun control, abortion, and bombing Iran. Yes you heard me right.

Rudy is strutting around and talking tough about blowing up Iran while Hillary is quietly supporting policies that will give the authority to do so.

Strip away these issues what is left that they disagree on? My answer, nothing!

Posted by: SteelWheel | October 24, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

"...permitted illegal immigrants to report crimes..."

Golly, hopefully the R's will take this right away from those nasty illegal immigrants!

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 24, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: nffcnnr | October 25, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Giuliani is a former prosecutor who could care less about the basic rights of anyone accused of a crime, even if they are innocent. We need more govt thugs like that!

Posted by: Louis Michael Mount | October 25, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The media continues to "omit" the deadly fact that RUDY GIULIANI created HIllary and put her into the Senate (when he choked---Twice---against her in that race).

ALL republican voters should know this, since the NY GOP were FURIOUS that Rudy super-screwed them.

But they will never find out if the corp media has any say.

It's even worse than this (as usual). EX: Rudy took his sweet time dropping out after he was caught breaking the law with adultery, SCREWING Rick Lazio by forcing him to have a late start.

EX: Rudy even skipped GOP fundraisers to go to Yankees games during the Senate race!

Voters have a right to know these things. So why is the media giving more coverage to Rudy's support of the Red Sox or how much money Rudy's raising???

You can come up with a list of tens of THOUSANDS of things Hillary and Rudy are identical on.

"Should the president be held financially liable if he misspends taxdollars?"

On this and a zillion other questions, Rudy and Hillary are identical.

They are identical on 99% of issues but the media leaves this all out.

On almost any topic you can think of, they're identical.

Posted by: cxb | October 25, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: STEVE RUONA | October 28, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Clintons and Bushes "were working together to serve American voters better" behind the scenes of all presdential elections within last twenty years. Considering that pictures of 9/11 collapse undoubtely indicates that WTC was demolished, it is also no doubt that the prior knowledge about this incoming event is the most important thing that Hillary and Rudi have in common. I, sure, would not ever cast my vote for either one.

Posted by: aepelbaum | November 8, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

After 8 years of Hillary we'll have 8 years of Jeb; just wait and see.

Posted by: Mark | November 29, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse

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